Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
I’ve always found Acts 4 interesting for several reasons – not least the fact that the apostles were made to stand trial before the Sanhedrin, which reminds me of the times when Jesus was trialled in front of Caiaphas and company. In the case of Jesus, God allowed for their evil plot to run smoothly, but in the case of Peter and John, the Sanhedrin were clueless as to how they should deal with them. Acts 4:13, the verse that comes after this, is notable for pointing out a fact – When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus – these Pharisees who were so proud of their knowledge and their laws were thwarted by a couple of uneducated fellas. It is in the book of Acts that we see some of the most stirring speeches uttered by the apostles (or other disciples and followers of Christ), such as the longest speech recorded in the New Testament, Stephen’s pre-martyrdom speech that rebukes the Pharisees [Acts 7|Article on Acts 7:60].
Salvation is found in no one else – There are many powers, many authorities, many gods that are worshipped by various people, many idols of various kinds. But there is only one power that can grant us salvation, and that’s God. Paul said, For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time [1 Tim 2:5-6]. What is this salvation? It is clearly the salvation that John 3:16 so famously preaches – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him [John 3:16-17]. What does this salvation entail? It is a salvation from pain, a salvation from oppression, a salvation from sin, and all that leads us to sinning. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed [John 8:36].
for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved – Why can salvation be found in no one else? Simple – because there is only that one name that has the power to save, and that name is Jesus Christ. One of the Bible stories I loved as a child was Peter healing the crippled beggar, saying, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” [Acts 3:6] In the name of Jesus Christ, whose name has the power to save. I love that story because Peter somehow makes it a point to admit that he had neither gold or silver – how excellent! Jesus is our saving grace. We know that. But what of those who do not believe that? What of those who do not know that? What is their saving grace? Why do they work so hard in life for? Some may have a huge ambition. Some may slough so hard because of their family. I doubt it’s unfair to say that a decent number of people work so hard for money. Money is their saving grace.
How sad is that, when there is only one true salvation of life, and that’s through Christ? Money may save their prides, save their jobs, even save their families or lives – but even as money may save them their lives, it is but temporary. In Christ, we gain the salvation of life by gaining eternal life. It’s a vastly different concept to extending one’s earthly life. It’s even sadder that this salvation, this one true saving grace is freely given to men. We just need to turn to God and ask for it. We just need to believe and have faith in it.
This speech also served as an opportunity to preach and to reach out to some of those who are yet to follow Christ. When the apostles said salvation is found in no one else, the Pharisees had no counter. They could only look at Peter and John in shock and take note that they had been with Jesus – an extraordinary man whom they hated, because his words often make so much sense that they often had no counter against him. They were becoming more like Christ, even in their preaching. This was not lost on the old foes of Christ, the Pharisees who had regularly pitted themselves against Jesus would observe that better. Salvation is found in no one else, hence it makes no sense for us to worship or be obsessed with any other power or authority. Even money. Remember the 10 Commandments? – you shall have no other gods before me [Exo 20:3]. It’s pretty much the same logic.